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LAX To Implement Thermal Body Cameras To Screen For Possible COVID-19 Carriers

The LAX Gateway Kinetic Light Pylons are seen lit up in blue near Los Angeles International Airport, Friday, April 10, 2020, in Los Angeles.
Mark J. Terrill / AP
The LAX Gateway Kinetic Light Pylons are seen lit up in blue near Los Angeles International Airport, Friday, April 10, 2020, in Los Angeles.

Thermal cameras that check passengers' body temperatures have been placed throughout the Tom Bradley International Terminal and arrival areas at LAX as another layer of protection to help keep travelers safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, airport officials and Mayor Eric Garcetti announced Monday.

"This is a voluntary program with signage alerting passengers where the pilot will take place," Garcetti said. "To be clear, these thermal camera temperature checks will not replace other safety measures. We're not saying that you only can rely on this. This is an additional layer of safety."

If someone registers a body temperature of 100.4 or higher, airport staff will request a secondary screening, and that passenger could be referred to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention staff to be instructed to quarantine.

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The Terminal Wellness Pilot Program is slated to begin Tuesday, Garcetti said, and the cameras are being provided by Carlyle Airport Group at no cost to LAX.

"We know it's incumbent upon us to make the public comfortable, with the idea of traveling once again to help boost passenger traffic numbers and to rev up the giant economic engine that is Southern California," said Sean Burton, president of the Los Angeles Airport Commission.

Since the start of the pandemic, airport staffers have installed hundreds of hand sanitizer stations, conducted deep cleanings of the airport and focused on sanitizing high-touch facilities such as elevators and doors.

Los Angeles World Airports CEO Justin Erbacci said the goal of the pilot program is to determine the best technologies to use for temperature checks at major hub airports and to create processes and protocols that can be recreated at other terminals in the U.S. and internationally.